We are pleased to announce the publication of a new review article exploring thiamine deficiency in food secure countries. As we have written on many occasions, including an entire book on the topic, the expression of thiamine deficiency in the western world is different than in countries with food insecurity. In the US especially, where the predominant diet is comprised largely of processed, but thiamine fortified foods, thiamine deficiency emerges not from the classically defined, starvation-based malnutrition, but from a sort of high calorie malnutrition. Here, calories are plentiful, and by current RDA standards, so too is thiamine, but somehow broad swaths of the population still develop deficiency. In the article we argue that it is not the absence of thiamine but rather regular exposure to anti-thiamine factors in the diet and environment that precipitate deficiency. It is a different starting point, a different chemistry, and ultimately, a different symptomology. The article is called: Hiding in Plain Sight: Modern Thiamine Deficiency. Enjoy.
From the abstract:
Thiamine or vitamin B1 is an essential, water-soluble vitamin required for mitochondrial energetics—the production of adenosine triphosphate (ATP). It is a critical and rate-limiting cofactor to multiple enzymes involved in this process, including those at the entry points and at critical junctures for the glucose, fatty acid, and amino acid pathways. It has a very short half-life, limited storage capacity, and is susceptible to degradation and depletion by a number of products that epitomize modern life, including environmental and pharmaceutical chemicals. The RDA for thiamine is 1.1–1.2 mg for adult females and males, respectively. With an average diet, even a poor one, it is not difficult to meet that daily requirement, and yet, measurable thiamine deficiency has been observed across multiple patient populations with incidence rates ranging from 20% to over 90% depending upon the study. This suggests that the RDA requirement may be insufficient to meet the demands of modern living. Inasmuch as thiamine deficiency syndromes pose great risk of chronic morbidity, and if left untreated, mortality, a more comprehensive understanding thiamine chemistry, relative to energy production, modern living, and disease, may prove useful.
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